John Bowler

John Bowler

Former Minister for Local Government; Employment Protection; Racing and Gaming; Goldfields-Esperance and Great Southern

    Labor plan provides workers with conditions and choice

    28/06/2006 9:18 PM

    Employment Protection Minister John Bowler has rejected claims by the State Opposition that his stance on workplace common law contracts is flawed.

    “I believe in flexibility and choice for both employers and employees,” Mr Bowler said.

    “Cutting workers pay and conditions below award standards leads to a race to the bottom, which is not in the interests of employees, or responsible employers.

    “I understand that the transitional provisions for the Federal Labor proposal to abolish AWAs are still being worked out, but I expect they will be similar to the provisions in WA when State workplace agreements were abolished in 2002.”

    Those reforms provided for ongoing employment contracts which protected any over-award pay and conditions that employees had received under their workplace agreements.

    “Both the WA Government and the Federal Labor opposition support upward flexibility above EBA standards as in large parts of the mining industry,” the Minister said.

    “We do not support the use of individual contracts to create downward flexibility where workers lose award pay and conditions.”

    Mr Bowler said Australian Workplace Agreements were used by employers in two very different ways.

    In the labour intensive service sector, which included cleaning, security, retailing and hospitality, some employers used AWAs to reduce pay and conditions below Award standards, while in the mining industry AWAs are used to pay over Award or EBA standards.

    “If AWAs are abolished, cleaning and other services employers will no longer be able to undercut community standards of pay and conditions, while the enhanced pay and conditions of AWAs in the mining industry will be able to continue under transitional arrangements and common law contracts,” Mr Bowler said.

    Minister's office: (08) 9222 9699